Marina Keegan, a 22-year-old girl who died in a car accident just days after graduating from Yale University in 2012, is an embodiment of 'someone I feel sorry for' ... It is free of verbosity, of ambiguous language gussied up as brilliance. It doesn’t contain any banal insights delivered as revelation. There is no subliminal messaging to the reader about the flattering ways in which the author should be viewed ... Keegan’s fiction, which constitutes the first half of the book, is built around the kind of empathetic extrapolation that makes for all the best realism ... The experience of reading this book is extremely and uncomfortably sad. I can barely recommend it.
The Opposite of Loneliness is a record of that time better spent. The book of nine short stories and nine essays takes its title from Keegan’s last essay to appear in the Yale Daily News... This book is not a posthumous vanity project; Keegan’s writing is intimidatingly good ... Keegan’s storytelling is so strong that the reader quickly becomes invested in the characters’ struggles, forgetting about their author’s life and death ... A keen observer of the human condition, of herself, and of her generation, she uses the vernacular... Through these stories and essays readers can feel the powerful reverberations of Keegan’s singular voice.
You can’t read The Opposite of Loneliness, which consists of nine essays and nine works of fiction, without feeling a bit haunted. The irony is overwhelming. There’s a certain type of roughness, a raw openness, in Keegan’s prose ... Instead, she writes from that exact place she is at, young adulthood, a time of decisions and crossroads, uncertainty and hope ... Her nature shines through in her work, and her poignant storytelling ability provokes her readers to question ... In several cases, Marina did not have time to self-edit, and this makes her stories and essays even more impressive.
Her stories and essays, written while she was in her late teens and early twenties, have been published posthumously ... The Opposite of Loneliness is that collection of both stories and essays. While a count tallies more pages as fiction, the nonfiction section, which includes nine personal essays, feels far more substantial and heavily weighted ... Her writing is provocative and intelligent, the voice steady and consistent, no matter the shifts in genre or the changes in point of view. Her fiction is a collection of short, quirky stories about love and loss, disappointment and betrayal ... These stories and essays are the inhale and the slow exhale of that deep breath at the top of the tower. And they are everything in between.
Marina Keegan’s writing, at its best, vibrates. It overflows with what it is to be young, intelligent, ambitious, uncertain… and alive ...nine stories and nine essays, including the title piece written for the Yale Daily News, a musing on the hugeness of the future... The stories carry a strange and sizeable weight as a result, with many feeling as if they foreshadow what was to come ... She has a keen eye and an emotional intelligence; she pins down the self-questioning and introspection of being in your early 20s... In some of the stories you can feel Keenan experimenting and testing herself, pushing beyond the familiar, trying new things, and while some of these experiments are more successful than others, in the best of them there is an energy at play, a kind of bubbling brightness.
Keegan graduated from Yale as a literary golden girl with a position awaiting her at The New Yorker. But before she could even begin her job, she was killed in a car crash. This book brings together a sampling of some of Keegan’s fiction and nonfiction in homage to what could have been had this remarkable young woman lived to fulfill her potential ...showcase Keegan’s ability to probe the murky, often unspoken emotional depths that haunt all relationships with fearlessness, lucidity and sensitivity. Not all of her fictional pieces, which focus primarily on exploring male/female and family dynamics, are equally strong ... Her most affecting pieces, however, are about the members of her own generation...Keegan’s work is a poignantly inspiring reminder of what is possible in the pursuit of dreams.